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Re: Tandem 4440/A ??

To: Eric Jorgensen <>
Subject: Re: Tandem 4440/A ??
From: "R.Charles Sweeten" <>
Date: Mon, 19 Jul 1999 11:04:16 -0500 (CDT)
In-reply-to: <>
Hey!  Thanks for all the info and posts.  Sorry I dropped off of radar
momentarily.{so many email accounts, so little time...:-) }

I'll tear into them again and see if I can get them up and flying.
They'll have to go in the queue behind about 4 linux 486s I'm working on.
{gotta convert the nephews and neices early, you know!  So many systems,
so little time...<sigh>}

Anyhow, I'll do the post-LED check and see what I come up with.

Thanks again!


On Mon, 5 Jul 1999, Eric Jorgensen wrote:

> "R.Charles Sweeten" wrote:
> > 
> > Eric,
> > 
> > You'd be correct on the video.  The connector is not in line with the rest
> > of the EISA bus.  I suspected that it may not be actually EISA, but I'd
> > thought that I'd seen other EISA boards with an offset slot like that.
>       Yup, that sounds like it's probably one of the many systems that were
> based heavily on the Jazz motherboard. Few companies varied from the
> design until NEC started manufacturing multiprocessor ARC systems. 
>       There were two video cards available for the proprietary 128-bit frame
> buffer interface in the Jazz motherboard. The low end one I believe was
> just refered to as "Jazz" and was a more or less brainless 8 bit
> non-accelerated Brooktree frame buffer. This is probably what you have.
> There should be a prominant Bt chip near the back of the case on the
> card. This frame buffer is fixed at 1024x768x8bpp. Probably at 60 or 72
> hz. So nearly any good VGA monitor these days is compatible with it's
> signals. 
>       The high end one, I could have sworn they named it after some large
> jungle cat but Cheetah doesn't sound right. I believe it was
> manufactured by Carrera. It was accelerated and I believe was usually
> shipped with either both the 13W3 and an HD15, or just an HD15. This
> board was multi-frequency like PC video cards so it could do several
> resolutions. You probably don't have this one, since they were awful
> expensive, and you have just the one 13W3 connector anyway. 
>       There are companies that manufacture 13W3 to VGA adapters intended to
> let people attach PC monitors to SGI computers. They charge from $40 to
> $65 for the finished product. 
>       Alternately, on Sparc mailing lists, I've heard reports that ViewSonic
> will sell you a Sun 13W3 to SVGA adapter for $23 if you call them and
> tell them about how you'd just love to use a bright, crisp ViewSonic
> monitor instead of a fuzzy old Trinitron on your Sparc. If you're up for
> a little social engineering you might be able to swing the same deal
> saying how much more you like ViewSonic monitors than the monitor on
> your ageing Onyx. 
>       If you want to build your own, somebody on this list maintains a faq
> that includes SGI 13W3 to SVGA pinouts that I gave them. I still haven't
> personally tested them. What I have here is a fully wired cable hacked
> off the back of a dead Sun 21" monitor. It's quite fortunate that every
> pin is wired because Sun and Mips/SGI use different pins on the
> connector. My plan here is to stick an SVGA connector on the other end
> and plug it into a keyboard/monitor/mouse switchbox I bought about a
> month ago. One of these days when I get some of that "free time" I've
> heard about. 
>       Anyway, the 13W3 connector is available from Mouser for $11,
> preassembled. You want the preassembled one, since it's no fun to crimp
> the mini-coaxial bits into the housing without the proper tools.
> > As for the memory, there's no guarantee, of course, that the memory that I
> > found in the system is the memory that worked in it.  It looked
> > authentic/orginal, but oh well.  It has 8 chips on the stick and would
> > be seen in my PS/1{requires parity} and came up in a generic 486 I was
> > playing with.
>       Hmm, well, it might work anyway. I mean, it's not like they couldn't
> have adjusted that part of the design. Have you tried booting it up at
> all? The original Magnum hardware has a small one-digit LED readout on
> the motherboard that serves more or less as a POST code display. 
>       As long as you have a keyboard plugged into the keyboard port (Should
> be PS/2 style), if all is well it should go completely blank as soon as
> the bootprom console loads - signifying that it didn't have any problems
> with the hardware. 
> > So, is there no reference point for these machines?  No web page with docs
> > or anything?  Or is this a "you want it, then do it" kind of thing?
>       I believe there is a web page with docs on this somewhere. I'm sitting
> here with my own server on a T1 colocated at a company i work for, so I
> should go ahead and start a "Linux/Mips on Jazz/ARC Hardware" home page,
> if nobody else has one in the works already. Of course, it'd be cooler
> if i were running it on a Magnum, instead of a Sparc 2. Or if i had
> Linux running on my Magnum at all . . . . . 
>       Anyway, I'm sure you've noticed that, while pretty, the page is
> a couple years out of date. You can indeed run Linux mostly without
> problems at all on Jazz hardware. X and everything, so I hear it. Here
> are some more links on the issue: 
>       Jazz platform machines are bi-endian, being able to boot into either NT
> or RISCos. If yours is in big-endian mode and boots to an SRM console
> once you've got it hooked up to some video and a keyboard, you will need
> to switch the system into little-endian mode. on the Magnum this
> involves using a disk to load the ARC console into the boot prom, and
> the Magnum disk may or may not work in your system. You'll know SRM by
> the sinking feeling of futility generally associated with it. It's
> designed to mount a BSD filesystem and launch the OS, and I don't know
> if anybody has managed to get Linux/Mips to boot from SRM. It may well
> be possible, since Linux/Alpha is now booting correctly from the similar
> SRM console on AXP systems. 
>       To make things more confusing, Alpha and Mips both have both SRM and
> ARC consoles available, and both call their boot loader MiLo. 
>       If it boots up into something bearing a striking resemblance to the old
> Windows 3.0 setup program, that's the ARC console, and you're in
> business. 
>  - Eric

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